All presenters are listed in alphabetical order. Additional speaker information will be available soon
Jorge Acevedo loves Jesus Christ and his Church. He is the Lead Pastor at Grace Church, a multi-site, United Methodist congregation in Southwest Florida with five campuses (Cape Coral, Fort Myers Shores, Fort Myers Central, Fort Myers Trinity, and Sarasota in Southwest Florida). Grace Church is recognized for its innovation and experimentation around recovery ministries, fresh expressions and other missional ministries. Jorge is a graduate of Asbury College and Asbury Theological Seminary and has authored or co-authored five books. He is married to Cheryl, has two adult sons, Daniel and Nathan, a daughter-in-law Courtney and four grandchildren, Mia, Levi, Seth and Zoe.
Tod Bolsinger is the Vice Presidents and Chief of Leadership Formation at Fuller Seminary, as well as Associate Professor of Leadership Formation. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1993, Dr. Bolsinger served as senior pastor of San Clemente Presbyterian Church from 1997-2014. Prior to that, he served as associate pastor of discipleship and spiritual formation at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. With a Master of Divinity and a PhD in theology from Fuller Seminary, Tod has taught Master’s and Doctor of Ministry classes since 2001. Tod has extensive experience in executive coaching, marketplace, church, and nonprofit consulting, blogs on leadership formation (bolsinger.blogs.com), and is the author of THREE books, It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian: How the Community of God Transforms Livesand Show Time: Living Down Hypocrisy by Living Out the Faith, and Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory.
Michael Beck is Director of Re-Missioning for Fresh Expressions US and Cultivator of Fresh Expressions for the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Michael serves as co-pastor of Wildwood UMC with his wife Jill, where they direct addiction recovery programs, a jail ministry, a food pantry, an interracial unity movement, and a network of thirteen fresh expressions that gather in tattoo parlors, dog parks, salons, running tracks, community centers, and burrito joints. Michael earned a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and a Doctorate in Semiotics and Future Studies at Portland Seminary with his mentor Dr. Leonard Sweet. He is the author of Deep Roots, Wild Branches; A Field Guide to Methodist Fresh Expressions; and Issachar's Secret. Jill and Michael currently live in Wildwood. They have a blended family of eight children, four grandchildren, and two pugs.
The Rev. Canon Dave Male is presently Director of Evangelism and Discipleship for the Church of England based in Church House, Westminster. He leads a large team which aims to equip every worshipper in the Church of England to be able to articulate their faith and live it out in the whole of their lives as well as developing many new fresh expressions of church across the whole of England and releasing 1000 new evangelists .
Dave spent ten years starting and leading the Net Church in Huddersfield which was one of the first fresh expressions of church in the UK.
He has written a number of books and articles on evangelism and pioneering issues and speaks and lectures on evangelism and pioneer issues both nationally and internationally. His latest book ‘How to Pioneer, even if you haven’t a clue’ has been made recently into a course which helps small groups of people to begin new communities His book co-authored with Paul Weston, He is a member of the Archbishops’ College of EvangelistsHe is married to Heather and has three grown up children. Much of his spare time is spent playing or watching sport
Shannon Kiser serves as Director of Training for Fresh Expressions US. She also coaches new worshiping community leaders in the Presbyterian Church USA, and is one of the pastors of Riverside Presbyterian Church, a northern Virginia church with multiple Fresh Expressions. Additionally, Shannon develops mission plans for churches and judicatories seeking to start new ministries through her work with Phila Consulting Group. She is a graduate of Texas Christian University and has a Masters of Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Shannon has served churches in Texas and Virginia, as well as the Church Growth Office of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Shannon and her husband Patrick live in Springfield, VA and have two teenage daughters.
Keisha Polonio is the Associate Director and Coaching Director for the Tampa Underground Network. As a certified leadership coach, she invests in the lives of leaders who have kingdom dreams. She provides them with the tools necessary to accomplish their goals within their businesses and their personal lives. Originally from Belize, Keisha serves as a storyteller and champion for Created Women, a ministry committed to serving vulnerable women caught in the sex industry. Through this ministry, Keisha is able to showcase God’s compassion and love towards women who are often times left in the dark and forgotten about. Her husband Ryan and Keisha disciple young leaders how to emulate Jesus everywhere they go, in their weekly home church, Kindred. She and Ryan currently reside in Tampa, FL, and are the parents of two wonderful boys: Jarron and Evan. As a cancer survivor, Keisha remembers to always be present and fully celebrate and conquer the trials and joys of life.
Leonard Sweet is the author of more than two hundred articles, 1500+ published sermons and sixty books. His recent publications include the groundbreaking textbook on preaching, Giving Blood: A Fresh Paradigm for Preaching, the best-seller From Tablet to Table, The Bad Habits of Jesus, and the fall 2019 release of the twenty-year successor to SoulTsunami, Rings of Fire: Walking in Faith Through a Volcanic Future. Len often appears on the “50 Most Influential Christians in America” listings, and in 2010 was selected by the top non-English Christian website as one of the “Top 10 Influential World Christians of 2010”. His “Napkin Scribbles” podcasts can be accessed on leonardsweet.com or spotify. His Twitter and Facebook microblogs are ranked as some of the highest in the religious world. Len works with graduate students at four institutions: Drew University, where he has occupied the E. Stanley Jones Chair, George Fox University, Tabor College, and Evangelical Seminary, where he currently holds the Charles Wesley Senior Professorship of Doctoral Studies. In 2015 he launched his own homiletics resource preachthestory.com. One of the most sought-after speakers in the religious world today, he resides on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands.
Additional speakers will continue to be added.
Kris Beckert serves as a Trainer for Fresh Expressions US. She also is a Church Planter of the Graham Road campus of Vine Church, a United Methodist church plant of the Virginia Annual Conference. She completed an M.Div. at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC, an M.S. from The University of Maryland, and a B.S. in Environmental Science at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she ran cross country. Kris has served at churches in the American Baptist, United Methodist, and Nazarene traditions and is an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene. Part of her ministry has been starting fresh expressions of church for young adults, equipping lay leadership for ministry, and launching new creative forms of small groups in Northern Virginia.
J.R. Briggs is a National Trainer & Equipper for Fresh Expressions U.S. He is also the Founder of Kairos Partnerships, a ministry that seeks to love the Church by caring for Her leaders. His role with Kairos Partnerships is expressed through coaching, consulting, speaking, equipping and writing serving a wide variety of leaders, pastors, churches, non-profits, ministries, companies and denominations. He is also an adjunct professor at Missio Seminary, and guest instructor at Friends University, specifically with the Apprentice Institute. He also serves as the Director of Leadership & Congregational Formation for The Ecclesia Network. He is an author, co-author and contributor of nine books that seek to equip and care for kingdom leaders. J.R. and his wife Megan have been married for over 18 years and have two sons, Carter and Bennett. They live in the heart of Lansdale, PA.
Travis Collins is Director Mission Advancement and Southeast Regional Coordinator for Fresh Expressions US. From 2002 until March 2014 he served as Senior Pastor of Bon Air Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia and has recently become Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church of Huntsville, Alabama. He is a graduate of Samford University and earned his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Travis’ twenty-five plus years of ministry have included missionary service in Venezuela and Nigeria. He is the author of Fresh Expressions of Church and From the Steeple to the Street: Innovating Mission and Ministry Through Fresh Expressions of the Church. Travis and his wife Keri have three adult children.
Rev. Jon Davis PhD is a known and recognized leader in the Episcopal Church. He served as Canon for Youth Ministry in the Diocese of Central Florida; training youth workers; initiating local, national and international missions and conferences. Jon is a successful church planter starting Church of the Incarnation / Oviedo, Florida in 2006 which grew from 6 people to an average Sunday attendance of 130+ in 2 years. He most recently served as the Executive Director of Canterbury Retreat and Conference Center during which he lead Canterbury back from the brink of collapse to a strong, sustainable and growing ministry. He is now on staff with Fresh Expressions. He is a sought after, dynamic and engaging speaker, writer, worship leader and ministry trainer.
Luke Edwards is a Mission Strategist and Trainer for Fresh Expressions US. He is also the Associate Director of Church Development for the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. He was the Pastor of King Street Church, a network of fresh expressions and campus of Boone United Methodist Church in Boone, NC. King Street Church currently has fresh expressions meeting in bars, coffee shops, the local homeless shelter, and the county jail. Luke is a provisional elder in the United Methodist Church and graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary. Participating in local, regional, and national levels of the Fresh Expressions movement has given Luke a unique perspective into the future of the church in a post-Christian society.
Heather Evans currently serves on the Pastoral staff of Grace Church in Cape Coral, Florida where she lives with her husband and three children. In addition to leading local reach ministries for Grace like Adopt-a-School, Shoes of Hope, and a food pantry, Heather oversees several Fresh Expressions of church. One of these, Eat, Pray, Love is a dinner church located in the second largest trailer park in America. Heather is passionate about bringing church to people from all walks of life who are far from God.
David Fitch is B. R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary Chicago, IL. He pastors Peace of Christ Church (C&MA) Westmont Il along with three other pastors. He has participated in 7 church plants in his life and coaches church plant all over US and Canada. He writes on the issues the local church must face in Mission including cultural engagement, leadership, and theology. His theology combines Neo-Anabaptist streams of thought, his commitments to evangelicalism and his love for political theory. His latest book is entitled Faithful Presence: How God Shapes the Church for the Sake of the World. He's married to Rae Ann and they have one child, a son Max.
Verlon & Melodee Fosner have been the Directors of the Dinner Church Collective since 2016, a network of Fresh Expressions across the US. they have been in church leadership for 35 years, and for the past 18 years have served a 93 year-old church in Seattle, Washington. In 2004, their long effective church began to decline, and they were faced with the decision: move to the suburbs or become an urban church. They felt called to not only stay, but to dive further into the urban neighborhoods of Seattle – especially the ones with a sparse church presence. After numerous failures, they decided to try the Agape’ Feast church model talked about in the New Testament. And to their great surprise they found an immediate intrigue among the unchurched Seculars living in Seattle neighborhoods. Within a year, they had hundreds of Seculars as friends, gathering around their tables, and talking about Jesus. What began as an urban Dinner Church spread into a multi-site Dinner Church, and then expanded into a national Dinner Church Network. In 2014, Verlon received a Doctoral degree for his research on “The Dinner Church of the Apostolic Era”, and has written three books on the subject – all of which are available on this website.
Rev. Heather Jallad serves an innovative dual appointment as pastor of community engagement at Mount Pisgah UMC in Johns Creek, GA as well as Lead Cultivator of FX for the North Georgia Annual Conference. She is the pioneer of Douglasville Dinner Church, and is in the experimental phase of a Supper Club and a Common Grounds Coffee House Gathering. She completed her M.Div. at Asbury Theological Seminary and holds a BA in Mass Communications/Public Relations from the University of South Florida. Heather has served churches across the Atlanta metro area in a variety of roles. She and her husband Marten have been married for 25 years and have two daughters, Ariana, a college senior and Sierra, a high school junior.
Matt Lake serves as the Lead Pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Williamsport, PA—an urban congregation that consists of a mix of traditional and contemporary worship experiences. First Church also currently hosts a network of fresh expressions of ministry called the Acts Network in which people meet in places such as homes, gyms, and coffee shops. Matt is a graduate of Messiah College has an Master in Divinity from Duke Divinity School. Matt is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry focusing on Semiotics and Future Studies through Portland Seminary. Matt has worked with a variety of churches in a consultant role and has a passion to see God’s Kingdom impacted through lives transformed in the love of Jesus Christ. Matt is deeply in love with his beautiful wife Jennifer and is doing his best to keep up with his three amazing teenagers—Alexandra, Joshua, and Zach.
Mitch Marcello is the Director of the Acts Network, a collection of fresh expressions of faith connected with the local church. He works with leaders to explore faith expressions, create meaningful communities and grow personal understanding about what it means to be a disciple in a rapidly changing culture. After spending five years working with the CCO (Coalition for Christian Outreach) doing college ministry and community outreach, Mitchell sees the importance of contextualizing ministry, and knows connecting pioneering ministries with the traditional church is vital to the Gospel being spread. It is not about being the newest form of ministry, but about doing what is needed to make the Gospel “news” again. Mitchell works at First United Methodist Church in Williamsport, PA, has helped start eleven faith communities and is in the process of launching fresh expressions of worship throughout Williamsport. Mitchell holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts and an Artist Diploma from Carnegie Mellon University.
Eliseo A. Mejia is the National Director of Expresiones Divinas, the branch of Fresh Expressions training for the Hispanic communities. As a fully bilingual pastor, he has served for 8 years at Mosaic UMC - a multicultural and multiethnic merged congregation in Louisville, KY. Furthermore, he serves as the Associate Director of Hispanic, multi-ethnic, and international ministries with the New Church Development office of the Kentucky Annual Conference. He has helped plant 12 churches in Kentucky and has coached 400+ new and seasoned leaders within the past 18 years in the USA and abroad. He has been able to implement new church planting models in Texas, where he planted three congregations. He has also used the Incubator model during the last 14 years to train and launch new church planters. He was the founder and director of H.I.L.T. (Hispanic International Leadership Training) in Dallas, TX. In Guatemala, under his guidance, Jeriel Evangelical Church became the first transcultural missionary-sending church. He holds two master’s degrees, one from Central American Theological Seminary in Guatemala (1992), and from Dallas Theological Seminary (1986). He graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary with a Doctor of ministry degree with its focus on Leadership Multiplication and Communications May 19, 2017.
Isaac Olivarez and his wife, Jaime, founded Urban Outreach Denver in 2012 and planted a Thursday night dinner church called Community Dinners, a church for Denver’s homeless and marginalized in 2013. UO Denver is located in Five Points, an inner city Denver neighborhood historically known for crime, drugs and poverty, but that is currently experiencing a resurgence of economic growth. Isaac and Jaime also launched a Monday night “Community Dinner” for kids called Little Rascals, and host a summer kids camp, short-term missions teams, back-to-school outreaches, as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas outreaches. Isaac and Jaime have been married 15 years and have three kids: Isabella (11), Abraham (7) and Nasya (4). They also have a Goldendoodle named Rocky.
Gannon Sims serves as co-director of The Center for Faith and Leadership at The University of Mary Washington, where he and his wife are training the next generation of leaders through spiritual formation and leadership development rooted in prayer and action. Gannon serves as Director of Ministry Formation, developing our cross denominational networks, The Amore Project and the Ananias Project. He also coordinates the Fresh Expressions efforts of the Baptist General Association of Virginia. As a married couple they work to bring fresh expressions of church to the collegiate community at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Known as a program builder who utilizes her apostolic gift to repurpose organizations, Dr. Dee Stokes ministers in a variety of settings, but her passion is preaching, teaching, and empowering others to win! She is in the middle of a repurposing adventure at Unity United Methodist Church where God is giving her a blueprint to do church unusual. This concept is moving from a traditional model of Sunday meetings to a model of community engagement with witty ideas and ways of reaching the lost for christ. It is not changing God's mission to make disciples, but it is a re-branding, re-purposing, and re-visioning how to accomplish the great commission and bring the kingdom of God to life in our community. It is a fresh expression of church as well as a missional community. This is the new thing the Lord is doing in the earth! Dr. Stokes is also an author, educator, and president/CEO of Dee Stokes Ministries, Inc., a non-profit speaking, writing, training, discipleship/life coaching, and missions ministry.